Many employers are not ready for shared parental leave (SPL), despite the rules coming into force on 1 December, a report by human capital management expert ADP has said.
More than one in five HR directors admitted they are not ready to meet the requirements of the legislation, which allows parents to share up to 12 months’ leave after the birth or adoption of a child from April next year.
Bosses have also underestimated employee interest, said the report. While 70% of HR directors predicted little or no interest in SPL in the next 12 months, one third of the 16-34 year olds questioned plan to take advantage of the leave in the next five years.
“The introduction of shared parental leave represents a step change for working parents, allowing them to take more control over child care responsibilities in the challenging few months after birth,” said Annabel Jones, HR director at ADP UK.
“Our findings show that many employees are keenly anticipating the changes and the potential benefits they will bring. But some HR directors may have underestimated the impact. In these cases, it’s time to start swotting up on the new rules, to ensure you’re ready to answer any upcoming employee questions.”
Employers may also need to do more to educate the workforce on the new right. ADP’s report found that 11% of the workers questioned had not heard of SPL, rising to 13% for 16-34 year olds.
Meanwhile, the report added that employees rank ‘flexible working and the ability to shape their working life’ as the most important factor for their engagement. In fact, 30.4% put flexibility first, ahead of praise and recognition (30.1%). By contrast, HR directors believe ‘praise and recognition’ is the chief motivating factor for their employees, with 70% ranking it as number one, followed by ‘fair and open leadership’ (60%). They placed ‘ability to work when and where they want’ third.
Steve Hardy, vice president of corporate marketing at ADP, said: “No longer a ‘nice to have’, flexible and remote working are now demanded by employees and could mean the difference between attracting and retaining the best talent and losing them.”
As flexible technology becomes more widespread, employees are also increasingly concerned about technology impacting the balance between personal life and work. ADP said 28% now feel the lines are becoming blurred, up from 16% in 2013.
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